Must see attractions in Heimaey

  • Top ChoiceSights in Heimaey

    Eldfell

    The 221m-high volcanic cone Eldfell appeared from nowhere in the early hours of 23 January 1973. Once the fireworks finished, heat from the volcano provided Heimaey with geothermal energy from 1976 to 1985. Today the ground is still hot enough in places to bake bread or char wood. Eldfell is an easy climb from town, up the collapsed northern wall of the crater; stick to the path, as the islanders are trying to save their latest volcano from erosion.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Heimaey

    Eldheimar

    More than 400 buildings lie buried under lava from the 1973 eruption, and on the edge of the flow ‘Pompeii of the North’ is a museum revolving around one house excavated from 50m of pumice. It was once home to Gerður Sigurðardóttir and Guðni Ólafsson, their two children and baby. During the eruption the family was forced to leave in the middle of the night with only time to grab one item, a baby bottle.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Heimaey

    Skansinn

    This lovely green area by the sea has several unique historical sights. The oldest structure on the island, Skansinn was a 15th-century fort built to defend the harbour (not too successfully, however – when Algerian pirates arrived in 1627 they simply landed on the other side of the island). Its walls were swallowed up by the 1973 lava, but some have been rebuilt. Above them, you can see the remains of the town’s old water tanks, which were also crushed by molten rock.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Heimaey

    Eldfellshraun

    Known as Eldfellshraun, the Mars-like land created by the 1973 lava flow is now criss-crossed with a maze of otherworldly hiking tracks that run down to the Skansinn fort and the area where the lava meets the town's houses, and all around the bulge of the raw, red eastern coast. Here you’ll find small black-stone beaches, the Gaujulundur lava garden and a lighthouse.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Heimaey

    Sæheimar

    The Aquarium & Natural History Museum has an interesting collection of stuffed birds and animals, videos on puffins and catfish, and fish tanks of Icelandic fish. It’s great fun for the family, and there’s often a puffin wobbling about. The museum is an informal bird hospital as well.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Stóraklif & Heimaklettur

    The top of the craggy precipice Stóraklif is a treacherous 30-minute climb from behind the N1 petrol station at the harbour. The trail starts on the obvious 4WD track; as it gets steeper you’re ‘assisted’ by ropes and chains (but don’t trust them completely). If you can bear the terror, you'll get outstanding views. Further out on the pier, Heimaklettur is more perilous, with wild rickety ladders. Both are top puffin-breeding grounds. When rainy, slick or windy, neither is a good idea.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Landlyst

    Shockingly, three out of four of Heimaey’s babies once died of tetanus, due to water deficiency and contaminated soil. In the 1840s an island woman, Sólveig, was sent abroad to be trained as a midwife. The tiny wooden house Landlyst was Sólveig’s maternity hospital (and is the second-oldest building on the island). Today it contains a retro medicine cabinet, a small display of her blood-letting equipment and other 19th-century paraphernalia.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Sagnheimar Byggðasafn

    Housed in the city library, this interactive folk museum tells the story of Heimaey from the era of marauding pirates up to the 1973 eruption and beyond. Displays also shed light on local sports heroes, religion, volcanic activity and native bird life.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Stafkirkjan

    The bitumen-coated Stafkirkjan is a reconstruction of a medieval wooden stave church (the exact design of the Holtdalen stave church in Trondheim, Norway). It was presented by the Norwegian government in 2000 to celebrate 1000 years of Christianity.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Helgafell

    Helgafell (226m) erupted 5000 years ago. Its cinders are grassed over today, and you can scramble up here without much difficulty from the football pitch on the road to the airport.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Herjólfsdalur

    Sheltered by an extinct volcano, green and grassy Herjólfsdalur was the home of Vestmannaeyjar's first settler, Herjólfur Barðursson. Excavations have revealed the remains of a Norse house where a replica now stands. The island’s campsite is also here. On the cliffs west of the golf course, there’s a little monument to the 200 people who converted to Mormonism and departed for Utah in the 19th century.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Landskirkja

    The lava from Heimaey's historic explosion stopped just short of the Landskirkja in the middle of town. The church’s carved wooden doors feature scenes from Vestmannaeyjar’s history.

  • Sights in Heimaey

    Public Park

    A nice square to come and eat a picnic or relax in on sunny days. It has a children's play area, including a very fun permanent bouncy trampoline.